Heavy alcohol use is associated with a range of negative health outcomes, and some individuals who experience traumatic events, such as sexual assault, use alcohol to cope with mental health symptoms following the trauma. This study explored the association between alcohol variables and physical health in collegiate women who experienced a sexual assault. As part of a larger study, a sample of 250 collegiate women who experienced a sexual assault since the age of 14 completed an online questionnaire that included questions about alcohol use (frequency, quantity, and frequency of binge drinking), motives for alcohol use, and physical health. Correlations among study variables were computed to examine the associations between alcohol variables and physical health. Only drinking to cope with negative emotions showed a significant association with physical health, indicating that among collegiate women who experienced a sexual assault, those who frequently use alcohol as a coping mechanism more often report poorer physical health. This finding aligns with prior research on drinking motives and may suggest that identifying alternative coping strategies may be important for some sexual assault survivors. Contrary to expectations, other alcohol variables (i.e., frequency, quantity, binge drinking, and other drinking motives) were not significantly correlated with physical health.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Maria, Riya S., "Alcohol Motives and Physical Health in Survivors of Sexual Assault" (2023). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1479.